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Want to stand out from the competition? Following are some of the top communication skills that recruiters and hiring managers want to see in your résumé and cover letter. Highlight these skills and demonstrate them during job interviews, and you’ll make a solid first impression. Continue to develop these skills once you’re hired, and you’ll impress your boss, teammates and clients.
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who cares only about putting in his two cents, and does not take time to listen to the other person. If you’re not a good listener, it’s going to be hard to comprehend what you’re being asked to do.
Take the time to practice active listening. It involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding: “So, what you’re saying is…”. Through active listening, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say, and can respond appropriately.
2. Non-verbal Communication
Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice, all colour the message you are trying to convey.
A relaxed, open stance, i.e. Arms open, legs relaxed and a friendly tone, will make you appear approachable and will encourage others to speak openly with you.
Eye contact is also important; you want to look the other person in the eye to demonstrate that you are focused on him and the conversation. However, be sure not to stare at the person as it can make him or her uncomfortable.
Also, pay attention to other people’s non-verbal signals while you are talking. Often, non-verbal cues convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, (s)he might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.
3. Clarity and Concision
Good verbal communication means saying just enough—don’t talk too much or too little. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want.
Think about what you want to say before you say it. This will help you avoid talking excessively or confusing your audience.
Through a friendly tone, a personal question or simply a smile, you will encourage your co-workers to engage in open and honest communication with you. It’s important to be polite in all your workplace communications.
This is important in both face-to-face and written communication. When you can, do personalize your emails to co-workers and/or employees – a quick “I hope you all had a good weekend” at the start of an email can personalize a message and make the recipient feel more appreciated.
It is important to be confident in your interactions with others. Confidence shows your co-workers that you believe in what you’re saying and will follow through.
Showing confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Avoid making statements sound like questions. Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure that you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.
Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you are coming from” demonstrates that you have been listening to the other person and respect his/her opinions. Active listening can help you tune in to what your conversational partner is thinking and feeling, which will, in turn, make it easier to display empathy.
Even when you disagree with an employer, co-worker or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view.
A good communicator should enter into any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to, and understanding, the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across.
By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.
People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. On the phone, avoid distractions and stay focused on the conversation.
Convey respect through email by taking the time to edit your message. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient will think that you do not respect him/her enough to think through your communication with her.
Being able to give and receive feedback appropriately is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls or weekly status updates.
Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” or “thanks for taking care of that” to an employee can greatly increase motivation.
Similarly, you should be able to accept and even encourage feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.
10. Picking the Right Medium
An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use. For example, some serious conversations (layoffs, resignation, changes in salary, etc.) are almost always best done in person.
You should also think about the person with whom you wish to speak. If they are a very busy person (such as your boss, perhaps), you might want to convey your message through email. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication and will be more likely to respond positively to you.